The Middle East erupts in a red-hot shooting war--and the President's grandson is in the thick of it. Herman's prewriting career (The Warbirds, Force of Eagles) as an Air Force fighter pilot shows clearly and to advantage. President Zack Pontowski and his high-flying grandson Matt are at the heart of the heated political and military action stirred up by the resurgent Iraqis and their new best friends, the Syrians, and by Israel's clear intent to go nuclear if provoked. While the President copes with the intrigues of his Sununu-ish chief of staff, his wife's fatal illness, Soviet political disintegration, a blackmailing oil empress, and Israel's friends in Congress, his grandson seeks to erase his playboy past, renounce his grandfather's political influence, win the heart of luscious Sabra, and earn the respect of his Air Force colleagues. The brilliant, tubby, lustful chief of staff, who is in the clutches of the aged oil queen, very nearly cooks Israel's goose as he pooh-poohs the threat of war and tries to freeze out pro-Israeli intelligence. But the Israelis start channeling their messages through Matt, and the President wises up in time to get on top of the situation when the Arabs and Egyptians start shooting. As the Israelis rattle their nuclear weapons, the Iraqis shake their chemical weapons, and it becomes necessary for grandson Matt to zoom into the thick of the fray to let off a few of those amazingly intelligent weapons we have come to know so well on the TV screen. Good, generally intelligible military thriller--this one distinguished by credible political characterizations and hair- raising aerial shootouts.